Our society supports countless fitness studios, tanning beds, beauty salons, personal trainers, health clubs and juice bars. We go to great lengths for our bodies, but what do we do for our minds? Where are the mental fitness studios and mind salons? Where are the personal trainers for the brain?
Think of your brain just as you would of any muscle in your body. With a regular workout, your brain becomes more responsive, strong, efficient, and powerful. Without a regular workout, your brain can become soft, flabby, and weak.
Science shows that meditation isn’t some sort of made-up workout for your brain, it actually creates observable changes in the left prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for happiness and other positive emotions). Meditation “wakes up” this part of the brain and allows it to be more active, resulting in long-term improvement in not just mood, but everything from productivity to sleep quality, too.
Leading meditation researcher Richard Davidson explains, “[Meditation] creates a change in the quality of moment-to-moment awareness, bringing with it a vast panorama of perceptual clarity. It is as if a mental fog lifts, one that you did not even realize had been impeding your perception.”
According to Davidson’s research, meditation creates a state of neural synchrony, causing far-flung networks of neurons to work together. This, in turn, leads to greater cohesion and integration between cognitive and emotional processes -- resulting in increased attention and perception. In other words, meditation is both a workout and a vacation for your brain!
(For more Dave Romanelli, go here to learn about all of his free Happier courses.)
Happier meditation expert David "Yeah Dave" Romanelli believes wellness and feeling good is much more than fancy yoga poses, green juice, and tight-fitting clothes. He co-founded One Yoga, one of the first yoga studios to mix music, technology, and fashion with ancient wellness practices, and created Yoga + Chocolate, Yoga + Wine, and Yoga for Foodies. Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment (Broadway Books) reached #1 on the Amazon Self-Help Bestseller List, and his new book, Happy Is The New Healthy, was just published. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Food + Wine, Newsweek, and The New York Times, and is a contributor to Health Magazine, Yoga Journal, and other publications.